Tuesday, March 07, 2006

thoughtless bureaucrats, noise, and lack of recourse -- hallmark of a third world status

Sala Daeng is one of the richer parts of town. Although Thai residents are just as deeply troubled by noise as western residents, they never complain due to the regressive Thai 'cultural' concept of 'kreng jai'. This 'living without complaining' is a feudal concept from a 100 years ago meant to keep peasants in line. This anachronism is still taught in Thai schools, sadly, though writing and basic math skills are not.

Night-time roadwork makes for some rude awakenings

I live on a high floor of a serviced apartment in Sala Daeng Soi 1. At 2.30am on February 26, I was awoken by a pounding noise that vibrated through my apartment. Actually, I had a dream about being shelled in war and then awoke to find that the city construction authorities had decided this was a great time to employ a huge tractor-mounted jackhammer to dig up a section of the roadway below the apartment building.

When I asked the operator of the machine why he was doing this in the middle of the night, he replied that his superiors had decided 10pm to 6am was the best time to wreak havoc on the neighbourhood, because during the daytime, cars might be parked along the road obstructing the machine! I gave up trying to discuss why some no-parking signs and tow trucks could solve that problem, particularly in a residential soi that has very, very little traffic or parking problems on a Sunday during the day.

So a hearty thank you (and a couple other salutations, too) to the relevant authorities, be they the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, the public-works folks or whoever.

Oh, and it is now 11.30pm on February 26, and evidently they didn't finish, because they are at it again, since about an hour ago. The fellow driving the jackhammer is only doing his job and actually seemed to feel a little bad about the disturbance. But what kind of inept bureaucrat comes up with these idiotic ideas? And can we get his phone number so we can share with him the joy of being kept up all night?

Sleepless in Sala Daeng